Instance-Aware Self-supervised Learning for Nuclei Segmentation

Xinpeng Xie, Jiawei Chen, Yuexiang Li, Linlin Shen, Kai Ma, Yefeng Zheng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the wide existence and large morphological variances of nuclei, accurate nuclei instance segmentation is still one of the most challenging tasks in computational pathology. The annotating of nuclei instances, requiring experienced pathologists to manually draw the contours, is extremely laborious and expensive, which often results in the deficiency of annotated data. The deep learning based segmentation approaches, which highly rely on the quantity of training data, are difficult to fully demonstrate their capacity in this area. In this paper, we propose a novel self-supervised learning framework to deeply exploit the capacity of widely-used convolutional neural networks (CNNs) on the nuclei instance segmentation task. The proposed approach involves two sub-tasks (i.e., scale-wise triplet learning and count ranking), which enable neural networks to implicitly leverage the prior-knowledge of nuclei size and quantity, and accordingly mine the instance-aware feature representations from the raw data. Experimental results on the publicly available MoNuSeg dataset show that the proposed self-supervised learning approach can remarkably boost the segmentation accuracy of nuclei instance—a new state-of-the-art average Aggregated Jaccard Index (AJI) of 70.63%, is achieved by our self-supervised ResUNet-101. To our best knowledge, this is the first work focusing on the self-supervised learning for instance segmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2020 - 23rd International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsAnne L. Martel, Purang Abolmaesumi, Danail Stoyanov, Diana Mateus, Maria A. Zuluaga, S. Kevin Zhou, Daniel Racoceanu, Leo Joskowicz
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783030597214
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2020 - Lima, Peru
Duration: 4 Oct 20208 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12265 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference23rd International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, MICCAI 2020


  • Histopathological images
  • Nuclei instance segmentation
  • Self-supervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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